By BOBBIE BELL
With less than 20 days before election day, Nassau and Suffolk County Board of Election Commissioners assured New Yorkers on Thursday that no matter what, their absentee ballots would fall into the right hands.
Even if the sender omits to stamp the envelope or pastes insufficient stamps,“Suffolk board will pay the difference,” said Nick LaLota, Republican Commissioner from Suffolk County Board of Elections.
The largesse was expressed on a webinar on ‘Voting in the Time of COVID-19’ hosted by Newsday Live, emphasizing the importance of getting ballots into the right hands.
But “put the stamp on it,” added James Scheuerman, Democratic Commissioner from Nassau County Board of Elections. Nassau County follows the same guidelines, displaying their dedication to ensure every vote is counted.
Many U.S. citizens have admitted to worrying that their right to vote this election season is being infringed upon. Last week, Florida residents were angered that the online system to register to vote in Florida was acting finicky on the deadline to register to vote throughout the state.
“We sent out 150,000 ballots so far this year and I’m not saying we’re perfect, but we’re pretty darn close,” said LaLota in reference to how New York is supporting their voters as opposed to other states.
While LaLota did his best to assure voters that their ballots would be safe in the hands of the United States Postal Service, many continue to be hesitant that their votes will be tampered with after reports a few months ago that voting by mail may be problematic
“I personally have some anxiety to speak on behalf of another agency,” admitted LaLota.
“The post office has been good about getting our ballots here timely,” said Scheuerman. “We’re working to get tomorrow’s mail today.”
However, if some people are still skeptical about absentee voting and prefer to both fill out an absentee ballot and vote in person, there is no harm in doing so. “No rule, no law against it. We understand that people change their minds,” said LaLota. “If a voter votes on a machine, his or her absentee vote will be negated.”
Both LaLota and Scheuerman acknowledged New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s response to ensuring that New Yorkers have alternatives to voting this election season, in a way that they feel like their voices will be counted and that they are safe during the pandemic.
“Seal it, sign it, and put a stamp on it,” said Scheuerman.
Photo by Mason B./plash